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Not only is the Overton Window a thing, but one can tell exactly where a culture’s window lies when ostensibly “respectable” media outlets cover what a public figure says. And by cover, I mean engaging in copy-and-paste jobs with a straight face while pretending a thought is halfway rational.
This is what happened last week when Guitar World let everyone know about these gems of tweets from feminist punk icon Tobi Vail, most known for her work in the band Bikini Kill.
“Can someone explain to my (sic) why people who play guitar have decided to revive shoegaze/dream pop and embrace dumb retro s*** like Weezer in an era filled with violence, economic inequality, and abortion bans? The guitar pedal industrial complex is not the sound of the revolution.”
This was followed by:
“What I’ve learned today: a bunch of a**holes really like the music I dislike and misunderstand the question I’m asking: why are people who play guitar focused on performative introversion, abstract soundscapes, and banal formalism while there are literal fascists on the streets?”
Now, the temptation we may have, particularly if we write think pieces for the Gospel Coalition, is to carefully craft a nuanced response about how there aren’t actually fascists in the streets, that economic inequality of outcomes isn’t inherently a bad thing, and that Christians should be in favor of not dismembering babies. One could even be forgiven for being in support of free markets in the form of the aforementioned “guitar pedal industrial complex,” and you can feel free to buy your pedals at westminstereffects.com for handwired, theologically sound guitar effects for the glory of God and the joy of his people.
Instead, what we must learn to do is to treat this nonsense in the same fashion God does. Laugh at it. And I don’t mean a tiny chuckle. Full, glad-hearted, belly laughter. The kind that makes tears well up in your eyes and lasts so long that you lose your breath. The kind described in Psalm 2 when the nations rage and plot in vain. God chuckles and holds them in contempt.
My apologies for all the genitalia references
There was a time, not so long ago in a galaxy not so far away, when Vail wasn’t gracing the digital pages of guitar rags as if her opinions mattered. Rolling Stone’s 1993 review of Bikini Kill’s first album described them as, “yowling and moronic nag-unto-vomit tantrums,” but we’re not here to talk about adjectives that would also describe AOC’s political platform.
Rolling Stone actually did us a favor in giving us those terms. Vail throws a perpetual tantrum and won’t stop until she gets that sweet, succulent universal basic income so she can keep making music in a band that can’t stay on beat. I’m seriously wondering why anyone would take a woman seriously when she’s in a band called – I kid you not – girlSperm. This is who we’re taking seriously now?
And lest you think I’m not acting like Jesus, this is just more proof that you don’t “love people into the Kingdom.” Vail needs Gospel, and before she gets Gospel, she needs Law. She needs a mirror to be held up to her God-hating heart so the filth can be exposed. Jesus did this by telling people they were swallowing camels, calling a king a fox, and asking hypocrites why they had entire sheets of plywood sticking out of their faces like Geordi La Forge on steroids (Matt. 23:29-32, Luke 13:32, Matt. 7:5). Paul did it by saying the Judaizers should cut off their junk (Gal. 5:12). And if that’s too shocking for you, don’t read Ezekiel 23.
Answer not a fool, but also answer the fool
This is all an attempt at obeying the paradoxical Proverbs 26:4-5.
Answer not a fool according to his folly,
lest you be like him yourself.
Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own eyes.
We shouldn’t answer Vail’s objections to reality on her terms, regardless of her inevitable attempts to label me a misogynist. We can’t ignore the fact that only one of us has a worldview that recognizes that despite containing the word “men,” menstruation is only done by women and not just “birthing people” or “ovarian egg releasers” or “humans who have periods.” I only made up one of those.
No, morons need answers geared toward morons, and again, I’m speaking biblically via 1 Cor. 1:20. God has made foolish – and that word is where we get the English word “moron” – the sophistry of the world, and we should treat it as such. Nuancing an answer to abject, objective stupidity “for the sake of the relationship” doesn’t actually accomplish anything.
But when we contend for the faith that has been delivered with finality to the saints (Jude 3), we do it with joy, not with sour demeanors (My citation here is basically the whole Bible.). We do it this way because we want Vail to kiss the Son, lest he be angry with her, but she will be blessed if she takes refuge in him (Ps. 2:12), and we know the only way that happens is if he does a work in her and raises her spiritual corpse to life (Eph. 2:1-10). This is true idiocy, so says 1 Cor. 1:25, but it’s an idiocy that results in righteousness and sanctification and redemption, an idiocy that will wipe away every tear, and will result in the praise of his glorious grace (1 Cor. 1:30, Rev. 21:4, Eph 1:6).
So pray for Tobi Vail, that God would regenerate her dead heart, and use the same boldness to both pray for your own loved ones and to give them the only news that can save their souls, regardless of the cost.